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should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

Majorca, Spain
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should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

Heading over in June when pretty much all of Maui seems to be less expensive (phew!). We aren't a resorty type of couple (early 40s) and prefer to be out an about but have a decent codo to come back to, sit on the lanai, maybe cook dinner and have a walk, watch the sunset and have an adult beverage at the end of the day. For our first trip to Maui, it looks like our preferred spot would be Napili or thereabouts, low key, removed, but spendy for condos. It also looks like we can get countless condos in S. Kihei across or near many nice beaches for less than 100 bucks a night. The price differential for an 8 or 10 day trip would pay for our rental car and more, probably. So, while price is always a great starting point, are there folks here tonight/reading this who think it's worth the extra dough to stay up towards Napili/kasnapill? Thanks!

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Bragg Creek, Canada
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1. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

We always stay in the Kihei area and thoroughly enjoy it. You can go up to Napili, Kaanapali, Lahaina or into Kahalui for shopping all within an hour with your car. Save your money and stay in Kihei

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2. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

You might want to read through this thread linked below. If you can get past the removed posts and snark, there are some good perspectives in there. Personally I don't like Kihei and would pick Napili every time, especially in June, but Kihei has plenty of fans. Also looking through Google Earth, street views, and You Tube videos that give a "walk through" perspective of the two areas and even specific lodgings and grounds, can give you a good sense of the area and whether it appeals to you.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g29220-i86-k729063…

Edited: 30 March 2014, 04:11
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S W Arkansas
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3. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

We have stayed in both areas but every Sept we stay in Kihei. We enjoy the budget friendly complexes and the beachtown vibe.

I would be very careful on the less than $100 units. Some are ok and some aren't.

For my fist visit I would suggest an ocean view which will cost you a tad more than $100 per night.

The following is a narrative that I wrote for another poster, but it might help you as you look at units in Kihei.

Let's start with the on the beach conds in the South Kihei area: Mana Kai Resort, and next door is Kihei Surfside(I don't think any of these units have a/c.) September is one of the hottest months. I perfer units have have a/c, others don't mind not having a/c. KS. nice beach and some good snorkeling. Just a little up the road you will have these three:

Royal Mauian, Kamaole Nalu and Hale Pau Hana. Are ocean front with great swimming beaches on each side of the units and some snorkeling. Across the road you will find many nice complexes that offer ocean view and partial ocean view. Kihei road is a two lane with a 20 mph seep zone. There are many crosswalks. You will have the highest concentration of the people staying in Kiehi due to good beaches, and restaurants, plus many complexes that are across the street from the ocean.

The next area you will see on VRBO is Central Kihei: Maui sunset, Koa Logoon, Menehune Shores are a few in this area. They front the ocean, but the water is shallow and has coral ruble which doesn't make for good swimming. Low concentration of people and nearest restaurants 1 mile. (I stay in this area). Also several good places to stay across the street.

Next area is North Kihei (on South Kihei Rd) There are several complexes that are on the wonderful 5 mile Sugar Beach, nice for morning walks. You can swim here and for snorkeling just a tad to the south across from the green church you will find a reef about 50 yds out for some snorkeling..

Kihei Kai, Nani Kai Hale, Kihei Sands, Sugar Beach Resort and Kealia Resort. Just a few sandwiches shops, shave ice, bakery and farmers market in the area not sit down restaurants. Less concentration of folks in this area. You will have two canoe clubs there also that let tourist go out with them for a small donation.

If you mean you want to walk out to snorkel and a variety of restaurants, then stay in the South part of Kihei, but if you don't mind driving 10-15 minutes for great snorkeling and great eats, then Central or North Kihei would work.

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Northern California
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4. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

We're going in June also. I picked south Kihei because I although I don't spend hours at the beach I want to be able to walk to it quickly at any time of day. Plus a good assortment of restaurants to walk to.

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5. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

Well, IMO the beach at Napili Bay is one of the nicest in Hawaii and there are quite a few restaurants to walk to from the area lodgings.

Edited: 30 March 2014, 04:45
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6. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

Napili Bay has a gorgeous shape and is a treat for the eyes, and I like it and Kapalua the most.

I was bummed out at how busy Napili was this winter, and actually it was busy the last time I went. I first saw it when it was very calm and kind of funky, and I liked that about it. Like the restaurant attached to the Napili Kai used to be mellow, and we could just walk up the beach to it and take in sunset, but it was a zoo this year, and it was not holidays yet.

OTOH, Napili is a great beach for walking, by daylight or moonlight. It's the first place I ever snorkeled and I found it really easy there.

Kihei and the beaches there just do nothing for me, but I am really glad those beaches are popular so that lots of people can go there. ;-)

On our most recent trip, I was pleasantly surprised by Honokowai.

I feel like Napili got "discovered" and that was not a good thing for it.

I think if you want to spend time at Napili Bay, it's best to have direct access from a condo, as the hunt for parking is a pain. Also you have to drive through a lot of Maui to get there from South Maui.

Likewise, if you think the South Maui beaches, including the ones near Wailea, will be your focus, then I would not stay in Napili.

I should add that we did not try to visit Hana from Napili. We spent two nights in Hana first and then drove to Napili and took all day doing it. It would be a long day trip from Napili and back. I loved Hana.

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hudson valley
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7. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

"We aren't a resorty type of couple (early 40s) and prefer to be out an about"

I think that says it all. Why pay extra for a place where you're not going to spend most of your time when you can stay elsewhere and use the extra money while you're out and about?

Compared to Napili, the Kihei area will be about half an hour closer to the airport when you arrive (possibly in the late evening?). It will be half an hour closer (coming and going) when you spend a long day on the road to Hana. Half an hour closer if you drive up to Haleakala, or down to the south shore on the Pi'ilani Highway. Kihei will mean a 45 minute drive when you go up to the Napili area, but figuring you'd spend at least one day checking out the Kihei area and Ahihi Kinau Preserve if you stay in Napili, those days cancel out.

YMMV, but I just need a place to sleep and cook some meals, and for me Kihei is a much more central location than anything in west Maui. Being less expensive is just a bonus.

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8. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

Interesting The Steve,

I read that comment to mean that Mypeeps had already identified Napili as the preferred non-resorty place that would be ideal, except for the spendy aspect of the condo. Napili is not resort. Ka'anapali is a resort area. Napili is more condos along a beautiful shoreline, no big hotels, not a resort shopping mecca. It's a great place to walk.

Mypeeps didn't say what "out and about" means. It could mean cover the whole island, or it could mean go somewhere to swim and snorkel and see sights, all of which is very proximate in Napili. It's not too hard to stagger the cross island trips with close to home trips.

MyPeeps didn't say the condo would be just a place to sleep and cook. She (I think) said, the condo should be fairly nice (decent), and a good place for lanai sitting, sunset, walking, cooking, eating ... not just in a functional way but enjoyable and aesthetic is how I read it.

It's hard to imagine Kihei fitting well with European sensibilities. It looks like America at its most average and least charm in design. The beaches are long straight stretches. Napili and Kapalua are gracefully curving bays that are a delight to survey, and the coastline to the north is one of Maui's crown jewels.

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9. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

That's a no brainer, Napili!!! Every time we stay in Kihei to save a few bucks I'm always so mad we did that!! Don't make the mistake we've made about 3 times, stay in Napili on your first visit to Maui and when you return try another location and you'll miss Napili.

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10. Re: should we save $ and stay in S. Kihei or splurge for Napili?

The best thing about Kihei is Coconuts fish cafe and Big beach and you can visit both in a day. The Kam beaches might be the worst in Maui.

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